The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 9

    Groped

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 12

    Falls

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 4

    Burns

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 6

    Random Assault